A whimsical selection of ten films to catch from the 18th edition of BAFICI by film writer Wendy Gosselin.
Hierba (Raúl Perrone)
The latest film by this prolific Argentine director is a set in 18 acts with different impressionist backdrops; there are moments when none of the actors move when it becomes unclear whether this is a painting, a film, or simply the dreamlike delirium so common in Perrone’s films.
Las lindas (Melisa Liebenthal)
In the first feature film by this young director examines childhood, adolescence, and the transition to adulthood among women. Liebanthal asks her friends to appear on camera and gets them gabbing about growing up as a girl in Argentina. This thoughtful documentary, included in the Argentine Competition, won the Bright Future award at Rotterdam.
Office (Johnnie To)
Imagine the dog-eat-dog corporate world in a Hong Kong-Chinese musical comedy drama with dazzling camera work. Need I say more? It’s in 3D!
Las plantas (Roberto Doveris)
One of the films in this year’s new Latin American Competition, ‘Las Plantas’ examines the secret life of humans in a vegetative state. The story starts with Florencia, a 17-year-old girl who must care for her catatonic brother. When she stumbles upon a comic about vegetative souls that come alive on nights when the moon is full, the film suddenly swerves into a lusty teenage dreamscape.
Aquí, em Lisboa: Episódios da vida da cidade (Gabriel Abrantes, Denis Côté, Marie Losier, and Dominga Sotomayor)
To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Indie Lisbon film festival these four international directors (from Chile, France, Canada, and Portugal) were invited to each film a short with the magnificent city of Lisbon as the backdrop, with a resulting fiction, documentary, fantasy, and comedy.
Junun (Paul Thomas Anderson)
In a radical departure from a streak of Hollywood productions that includes ‘There Will be Blood’ (2007) and ‘Boogie Nights’ (1997), Paul Thomas Anderson heads to Mehrangarh, a 15th century Indian fort, to film the recording sessions of a dozen Indian musicians, Israeli composer Shye Ben Tzur, and Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood. This documentary gem, which some have compared to ‘Buenavista Social Club’, is included in BAFICI’s classic “Music” section (Panorama).
Hedi (Mohamed Ben Attia)
This film by the young Tunisian director follows a young, humdrum man named Hedi who, days before his marriage, meets a bubby, open-minded woman and falls in love. With this description, it sounds just like a version of Sergio Renán’s ‘La Tregua’, I know. Beyond their love story, however, the film uses their meeting to reflect on greater changes in a country pre- and post-revolution. One of the films everyone is out to see in the International Competition.
The brick and the mirror (Ebrahim Golestan)
Long before the Iranian Revolution and the arthouse films of Abbas Kiarostami, Ebrahim Golestan made this troubling yet wondrous film about a taxi driver who discovers a baby has been left in the back of his cab. A great chance to contemplate one of the pioneers in Iranian cinema.
Girl Asleep (Rosemary Myers)
“Coming of Age” is one of the chosen themes of this year’s festival, and Myers offers a zany look at growing up in 1970s Australia. There are mean girls, a cute boy and, uncannily, fairytale creatures lurking out in the forest behind the home of our young protagonist, Great. Lauded at Berlin, ‘Girl Asleep’ is in BAFICI’s International Competition.
Bone Tomahawk (S. Craig Zahler)
In what promises to be a glazed rush of gore, horror, thrills, and action, this cannibal Western stars Kurt Russell as a small-town sheriff out to rescue a kidnapped woman from a group of savages. One of a handful of BAFICI films where you probably won’t get dirty looks if you enter the theatre with popcorn!